Explore objects from the Eton Myers Collection in 3D
Watch a 3D video of object ECM169 - Hieroglyphic relief fragment
Watch a 3D video of object EMC360 - Shabti of Ptahhotep
Watch a 3D video of object ECM554 - Cosmetic jar in hedgehog form


The VISTA Centre | Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity | University of Birmingham | Edgbaston | Birmingham B15 2TT | UK

 Tel: 0121 415 1041 | Email: vista@contacts.bham.ac.uk


Sacred and Profane
Treasures of Ancient Egypt – The Eton Myers Collection


The Myers Eton College Collection of Egyptian Antiquities is not only one of the most stunning assemblages of ancient Egyptian decorative art worldwide, but also a window into the distant world of travellers in 19th-century Egypt and the Middle East. Educated at Eton College and Sandhurst, Major William Joseph Myers (1858–1899) started collecting in Egypt in the 1880s. The country was a magnet for painters, novelists, archaeologists, collectors and adventurers, and it was in Cairo that Verdi’s Egyptian themed Aida opened in 1871. Spectacular archaeological discoveries were regularly made, and throwing mummy-unwrapping parties was fashionable in Europe and America. On Myers’ untimely death in 1899, Eton College became the beneficiary of his collection, diaries and library.

The Eton Myers Collection Virtual Museum Project is an ongoing research area, originally funded by JISC, enabling access to the collection via the Internet. The principal aim of the project was to facilitate wide access to the Eton Myers Collection through the high-resolution laser scanning of a number of the objects (chosen on the basis of fragility and display quality) and providing access to downloadable 3D models (and raw data) of the objects linked to a complete catalogue database of the collection. This was to provide global access to the objects, and facilitate future research and teaching. The project builds upon the current establishment of the Virtual Worlds Laboratory and the creation of a physical museum for the collection in Birmingham. The project also aimed to significantly reduce the need for the future transportation of these artefacts, thus ensuring their long-term conservation. The results from the project have demonstrated the value of generating a 3D digital resource resulting in the intended eventual digitisation of the complete collection, in addition to the comparable digitisation of similar collections elsewhere. The resulting data has been curated at the University of Birmingham.

Sacred and Profane (an exhibition by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts) celebrates William Myers’ extraordinary bequest to Eton College and launches the University of Birmingham’s partnership with Eton College and Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Statuettes of mortals and gods, mummy masks, jewellery, pottery and papyri are displayed next to the Barber Institute’s own Egyptian collection of coins from Roman and Byzantine Alexandria. The exhibition is in collaboration with the University of Birmingham’s College of Arts and Law, and a 3D gallery with highlights of the Myers collection is being created by its Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA). The exhibition runs from 18th June 2010 to 18th January 2012 (http://www.barber.org.uk/sacred.html).

For further information and to view the 3D objects go to the Eton Myers Online Museum and search the database. 3D models of a proportion of the assemblage are available for download.



Gold Mut amulet 5cm x 1cm x 0.5cm


Above: Photograph of a female mummified  hand
Below: 3D model of the same object following laser scanning


                         Left: Laser scanner portrait of mummy          Right: Same laser scan revealing brush strokes
                                                                                            and paint layering in surface geometry